“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” – Malcolm Forbes
Many years ago I ran into a remarkable man, Dr. Leo Buscalia. In my view, this is one of the greatest life-effectiveness teachers of all time and a brilliant humanitarian (and boy does he sweat a lot). I listened to him like a young child hearing their favourite bedtime story, with utter rapt enthralment and engaged on all levels; visually, emotionally, sensory, auditorally, spiritually.
If you have never heard one of Dr. Buscalia’s talks to parents and adults, you should really check them out. Here’s a link to one of his presentations on YouTube.
I have tried to take to heart many of Dr. Buscalia’s messages as I’ve gone about my life as a father, a husband, a teacher, a businessman, a consultant, a friend. But the lesson that has had the most impact on me was a story he tells about his father and their dinner time conversations when he was a young boy.
Basically, every evening at the dinner table his father would ask the children the same question: “What did you learn today?” And each in turn had to talk about something new they learned that day, either at school or somewhere else. And “nothing” was not an acceptable answer. If one of his children tried to avoid the evening ritual by not being able to think of anything, they were sent away from the table, without supper. Leo, being a quick study and liking his food, realised that anything new would work, so often spent the few minutes before dinner time quickly scanning the dictionary for a new word, memorizing the definition, then spouting eloquently on his new-found knowledge.
Funny thing is, as Leo Buscalia tells it, he thought he was getting away with something, the easy way out, when in fact, as an adult he finally realised that he had learned a valuable skill and a life-long lesson about developing good learning habits and being open-minded to new things.
What do you talk about at the dinner table with your family? What are the family dinner table rituals that will someday turn out inquisitive, open-minded, intellectually curious, mature young adults? I suggest you add; “What did you learn today?” to your family rituals.
You just might learn something!
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress